Let’s compare the Shure SM58 dynamic microphone to the Audio Technica AT2020 condenser microphone. Both of these are entry-level microphones, but they are also used in situations that are beyond entry-level.

Quick Answer: If you’re looking for your first microphone for podcasting, the Shure SM58 is the right choice. But if you’re looking for your first microphone for overall studio producing where you’re recording other instruments as well, it’s a tough call between the two microphones. While SM58 is better on things like guitar amps, drums, etc. AT2020 is pretty good for sensitive instruments like acoustic guitars.

Frequency Response

If we analyze the frequency response graph of the Shure SM58, you’ll see there is a high pass filter that rolls up around 100 Hz. Then there is a mid-low cut around 400 Hz to add a little bit of clarity. There is also a boost around 3-5k to add more vocal clarity. And then there is a cut right after 10k to drop off the frequencies that don’t contribute much to the vocal range. It accentuates exactly the right frequencies that you want for a vocal mic to stand out, amongst other things. 

Now, if we analyze the frequency response graph of the Audio Technica AT2020, you’ll see the lows are pulled quite a bit lower for a longer period of time. The 2.5k is a little bumped up, and the upper frequencies are also emboldened, which adds that extra brightness to the microphone compared to the Shure SM58. 

Build Quality and Physical Features

The Shure SM58 is a classic microphone with an iconic handheld dynamic look, and it is available in a variety of colors. It has a long stem since it is also built for live music applications. You can screw the end cap off the grill, and there is a built-in foam filter which is pretty light but does an amazing job at preventing the plosives. If you’re doing podcasting only, we suggest getting an additional foam windscreen as it will help even more with plosives. 

When it comes to mounting, it comes with a classic Shure mic clip, so it clips in and out pretty easily. You can also get shock mounts for them from third parties. But we don’t recommend getting shock mounts for the Shure SM58 as it does a pretty good job at reducing handling noise. 

When it comes to the build quality and physical features of AT2020, it has an all-metal design with a completely black look and a mesh grill. Since it’s a Side Address microphone, make sure to speak into the side of the microphone instead of the top. 

Although it comes with a hard mounted clip, we recommend getting an additional shock mount for the AT2020.  We also recommend using an additional foam windscreen for it because it’s a lot more sensitive to plosives compared to the Shure SM58. 

Background Noise

We conducted different background noise tests, such as keyboard clicking, pen clicking, shuffling paper, etc., on both the microphones, and we think Shure SM58 is better at removing the background noise. You can see the results at 6:45-7:40. 

Proximity Effect and Distance

If you’re recording a podcast, we recommend staying about a fist away from the Shure SM58 microphone. But if you’re in a live sound situation, you should keep the microphone much closer to your mouth. You’ll notice a much richer low end when you get super close to the microphone. You can see the demo of how the Shure SM58 sounds like when you get inside the proximity zone at 8:12. If you get too far back, Shure SM58 does start to sound a bit thin.

If you want to see how the AT2020 sounds like when you’re a fist away and when you’re inside the proximity zone, see the demo at 7:41-8:28. 

Which Microphone is Best?

If you’re recording, talking, singing, or into anything to do with voice, the Shure SM58 is the standard that all other microphones are compared. Not only is it a good vocal microphone, but it’s super durable and well built. And it’s also pretty good at removing the background noise. That being said, there are better microphones as well. But we suggest anyone that is into anything related to voice should own a Shure SM58. In terms of investment and good value for money, the Shure SM58 is the perfect option. 

However, this microphone is not for every situation, and that’s where you can go for the AT2020, which is a lot more flexible. If you want a condenser microphone for recording sensitive instruments or something that needs clean, articulate, and crisp recording, the AT2020 is a really good choice. 

Shure SM58 vs Audio Technica AT2020 Specs


Shure SM58Audio Technica AT2020
Microphone typeDynamic Condenser
ConnectorXLRXLR (USB version is also available)
TransducerDynamicFixed-charge back plate permanently polarized condenser
Polar Pattern CardioidCardioid
Microphone DirectionTop/End AddressSide Address
Frequency Response50 Hz to 15 kHz20 Hz to 20 kHz
Impedance150 Ohms100 Ohms
Sensitivity-57.5 dBV/Pa @ 1kHz-37 dB (14.1 mV) re 1V @ 1Pa
Weight0.82 lb/ 371.94 g0.76 lb/ 345 g

Shure SM58 vs Audio Technica Pricing

Shure SM58 vs Audio Technica AT2020 Comparison | Which is Best? Topics

  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 0:53 – Pricing & Availability
  • 1:12 – Equipment Setup
  • 1:44 – Microphone Specs
  • 2:45 – Frequency Response
  • 4:15 – Build Quality & Physical Features
  • 6:45 – Background Noise Test
  • 7:41 – Proximity Effect & Distance
  • 9:02 – Recommendation
  • 14:09 – Final Thoughts

Disclosure: If you purchase an item or service from an outbound link, we may receive a referral fee, which helps to support Kettner Creative.

All opinions are based on our experience and are given for informational purposes only.

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